by Christy Morgan
You want to go to Thailand and visit it’s pristine beaches, but you are a health-minded person. You are into yoga and healthy food, and have no interest in getting wasted or having sweaty Europeans rubbing up against you in a hot club. If you are anything like me you travel to see the world and have experiences not to party.
Ko Phangan is famous for it’s crazy Full Moon Party. I was on the island for 8 days and had the most brilliant time never stepping foot in Haad Rin or swinging glow sticks on the beach. Granted, a little part of me did want to see what the fuss was all about, but I just couldn’t be bothered. Call me old or uncool if you will, but I didn’t want to miss my morning yoga class. You can see where my priorities are when traveling. I chose to go to Ko Phangan because I heard one little part of the island was a heaven for yoga and healthy food.
Srithanu is found on the northwest side of the island far, far away from the party area. It’s somewhere a vegetarian, vegan, or yogi would want to plant some roots. I fell in love with this little area of the island for many reason. Today I share my top 5 reasons to visit the island if you care about your health and well-being and aren’t interested in partying much.
Thailand is known for being inexpensive but the islands tend to be more touristy and pricey. Thankfully, you can easily stay in Srithanu for $25 a day backpacker style (for a room, food, & scooter) or splurge a little and have 5 star luxury at $50 a day. Fruit is abundant and cheap for breakfast. Thai food is easily found for under $3 a meal in shacks set up along the road. Accommodations range from hostels at Shiralea Backpackers (only 200 baht/$6 USD for 8 bed dorm with air con and share bathroom) to the beautiful Phangan Akuna (where I stayed in a private bungalow with a friend for 1300 baht/$37 USD). I scored a scooter for the week for 800 baht (about $3.35 USD a day), found free yoga classes (see below) and even my fanciest meal cost around $10 USD. Things would be even cheaper if you stayed for a month at a place with a kitchen. All of this makes it a dream for a short vacation or a longer stay.
There’s Beautiful Beaches
Sure, you can find beautiful beaches all over the world, but the water is so crystal clear it’s the ultimate diving and snorkeling destination. Just look at that blue water and sandy beach! I love how it has layers of the most beautiful greens and blues as you look out into the ocean. We went on a half-day snorkeling trip (900 baht/$25 USD including pickup, lunch, drinks, and equipment) around the northwest side of the island and I was shocked at how clear and lovely the water is. If you go during hot season the tides may be low and the water right off the beaches will be hot, but the further you go out the cooler the water will get. I definitely recommend getting out on a boat if you can!
Abundant Yoga Classes
Within 3 kilometers there are six beautiful yoga studios where you can take yoga classes of all styles. I tried classes at Samma Karuna, Orion, Gaia, Agama, and Ananda Wellness Resort, but missed Sunny Yoga. Each studio is unique, with experienced teachers and every style of yoga imaginable throughout the day. Almost all are open air studios (many with mosquito netting) that can get pretty hot so be sure to wear appropriate clothing, bring a towel and a full water bottle. Most have drop-in rates at 300 baht ($8.50 USD), or 5/10 class passes at a discount. Agama and Gaia let you take your first class for free!
Vegan Food Galore
If you are looking for healthy fare Srithanu area of Ko Phangan is where it’s at! This is what drew me to the island; a quick glance at HappyCow shows an abundant amount of choices. From those cheap Thai shacks on the side of the road where you can get pad thai for $1.50 to fancier vegan cafes where you might spend $8-12, everything you could ever want is here. Check out this comprehensive blog post from Mostly Amelie and I share my favorite meals here on my personal blog.
It’s Quiet & Relaxed
Even though Ko Phangan is known as a party island, I found the north/west side of the island to be quiet and secluded. Granted I was there in April during low season, but I’m guessing that area is often a little slower than Haad Rin and Thongsala. I felt totally comfortable driving a scooter around and had no fear of crashing (like I did while in Canggu, Bali). If you are in town during the full moon party it does get busier during that time and hotel prices go up so keep that in mind. But other times are the month are super chill!
Have you been to Ko Phangan? What is your favorite thing about the island? Share with us in the comments below!